Notes on a Fandom: Is She Really Going out with Her?

In last week’s column, we delved into the world of canonic relationships. This week however, is all about femslash and crackships. The term femslash can be applied to really any female romantic/sexual pairing between characters, even OTPs, but its original purpose was as a reference to alternative lesbian romances based on subtext. Crackships, which is frankly just fun to say, are pairings that are very unlikely to ever occur. In a nutshell, it comes down to the difference between subtext and pure, fun fantasy.

(Fem)Slash her? I Hardly Know Her!

Fangirls, I admit to being a fairly vanilla shipper up until recently. I love my OTPs and canonic relationships. Subtext seemed so old school to me, and I gravitated towards established lesbian/bisexual/trans characters and relationships. Looking back, it was the moment Bette Porter melted my brain with her white power suit that I decided subtext was no longer relevant. What I wanted to see was right in front of me, and there was no going back. It was indeed true that this was the direction entertainment was going, and it was thrilling to have well drawn queer relationships play out on the big and small screen, comic books and novels. Why bother with scattered puzzle pieces that may never form a true picture, when you can have the real deal, right? Well, it is my humble admission, that I was wrong. You dear fangirls, have helped me see the light. I asked you on Twitter, why does subtext still hold such an appeal to fans. I was blown away by your insightful and thoughtful answers. I wasn’t able to include them all, but here are a few of my favorite responses:

Even the AfterEllen staff got in on it!

It was like getting schooled in the best possible way.

No, not by you, you big Ezbian!

Subtext is part of our queer history. For a very long time, it was all we had, so gays and lesbians created their own stories. Just because our stories are finally being told, doesn’t mean that subtext is irrelevant. The natural chemistry that exists between characters like Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles and Quinn Fabray and Rachel Berry creates an atmosphere of possibility and excitement. What is so beautiful about femslash, is that it opens us up to something very real and precious.


It dares fans to dream differently, to have faith in the seemingly impossible. It also happens to be fun, which can get lost in the frenzy of fandom. (Sure, it can also be rife with bitterness and disappointment, cough, Smyan Shmurphy) Let’s focus on the positive though, shall we?

Youtube, Tumblr, and fanfics are chockfull of femslash couples and here are just a few of its many pairings. Do you ship any of these couples?

Jane Rizzoli/Maura Isles (Rizzles) – Rizzoli and Isles

The friendship between hot cop, Rizzoli and medical examiner, Isles has been keeping us in subtext heaven since its first season launched on TNT. The actresses themselves seem to get a kick out of it too.

This video was the winner of the Rizzles Fan Award.
Warning, the eye sexing is so powerful, it could light the city of Boston for a year.

Quinn Fabray/Rachel Berry (Faberry if you’re nasty) – Glee

Oh Faberry, my Tumblr dash just wouldn’t be the same without you. The sometimes combative, sometimes tender relationship between Glee’s Rachel and Quinn has really struck a chord with fans. The sheer amount of fanfiction for this femslash couple could fill McKinley’s auditorium (if Sue wasn’t already using it). I asked @Jarrrow, one of my favorite fanboys, and cochair of Faberrycon (, for some fanfic suggestions. He did not disappoint. Check out ” Kissing Quinn Fabray,”I’ll Be” and “These Strange Steps” (grab a tissue) .

Photo from

Emma Swan/Regina Mills (SwanQueen) – Once Upon a Time

You know the old fairy tale. Girl meets girl, girl tries to kill other girl with a poison apple, girl gives girl smoldering looks while co-parenting an annoying child. Just like grandma used to tell us. Nothing like a love/hate relationship to really get those fandom juices flowing!

Photo source

Elphaba/Glinda – (Gelphie) – Wicked

Musical theatre nerds need love too. Can you imagine what would have happened if these two witches teemed up? Talk about changing for good. Plus, who doesn’t like green and pink together.

Alex Cabot/Olivia Benson – A/O – Law and Order: SVU

This femslash pairing has really stood the test of time. Remember when Olivia thought that Alex was dead, and she cried and cried and went to the Bronx Zoo and punched a walrus in the face, because she couldn’t handle her grief? You don’t? I may have read that in a fanfic somewhere. Anyway, these two gorgeous ladies of the law still inspire much shipping. If they ever really do get together, do you think their “I do’s” will be followed by the “ChuChucnk” sound?

Princess Bubblegum and Marceline – Bubbline – Adventure Time

Marceline is a vampire who plays a mean bass. Princess Bubblegum is a control freak made out of sugar. Yet somehow, it works.Fans got to see some of their femslash wishes come to life during an episode entitled “What’s Missing”, that included a scene that strongly hinted that there was more to their past than met the eye. The episode was quickly edited however, and all that sweet, sweet validation was washed away like so many melted creamsicles. (Note: I found an unedited version of the scene, but by the time I was doing my final edits, it had been removed. Oh my glob!)

“I’m gonna drink the red from your pretty, pink face”
Source: Adventure Time artist Natasha Allegri’s Tumblr account

All Aboard the USS Crackship

Some people like peanut butter and chocolate. Simple, classic, tasty. Some people like peanut butter and onions. Sure, its out there and a little weird, but to those folks who like it, its goddamn delicious. That is essentially what crackshipping is all about. Its fun and exciting and the possibilities are endless. Not only can crackships exist within a fandom, but crossover the fandom universe. How about Santana from Glee and Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Somebody ships that. Katniss and Hermoine? You can bet your bow and arrow on it. One crackship that has been showing up a lot on my Tumblr dash as of late is Spaily, (a throuple if you will) consisting of Emily, Spencer and Paige from Pretty Little Liars. Since I am a lady, I simply cannot go into full detail, for I will surely get the vapors.

“I had a similar first reaction.”
Photo source:

Not everyone is a fan of crack ships, but luckily the fandom is big enough for all of us.Do you have any crackships that you love and want to share?

Thank you for your amazing comments in the last column, and please keep them coming. I want to continue to build Notes on a Fandom around your input. As always, flail on fangirl. Flail on.

Biweekly, Notes on a Fandom will feature a different fandom-centric topic. Stay tuned to my Twitter and Tumblr for updates. Tweet me your thoughts on what you’d like to see covered with the hashtag #notesfandom, and send me links to your Tumblr.